Editor’s Note: This article is the fourth article discussing findings about what the four Appellate Division departments have been deciding about legal malpractice during the last five years. Future articles will continue to share findings from the data set, containing 357 published decisions. Previous articles may be found here.

Like all of professional malpractice, American legal malpractice is a common law realm. Judge-made doctrines—mostly the law of torts, contracts, and agency, with issues of fiduciary duty often present—govern disputes between attorneys and clients. Analyzing any legal malpractice claim necessarily calls for attention to the common law.

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